Gift Programs

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Managers: It’s time to go to Recognition School

In recognition school, you don’t have to worry about getting new school supplies, or trying to be comfortable in a tiny desk chair. Here, we have more important things to worry about, like employee engagement and retention. As many people are gearing up for back to school time, why not take a few minutes to review some best practices for recognizing your employees? I have 5 tips from recognition school to help you recognize your employees more effectively.

5 Tips from Recognition School

Recognition SchoolAsk employees

Not sure where to start an employee recognition program? One the of the best places to start is by asking employees how they would like to be recognized. You can recognize employees for different reasons, in public or private, at different times of year with different recognition awards. Don't let employees fool you by saying they would like cash for their recognition award though. Cash is often lumped into pay and can become an entitlement instead of a lasting reward. Sit at the front of the classroom in recognition school, and start asking questions. You may be surprised to find your employees raising their hand and lending you their opinions.

Develop your plan

Let's review a little vocabulary lesson in this session of recognition school. There are two types of recognition you need to be aware of: on the spot recognition and measured recognition. On the spot recognition happens, you guessed it, on the spur of the moment. Managers should have a way they can recognize employees on the spot by giving them a slip of paper or sending an email with recognition details. Measured recognition can be anticipated though, like anniversary, retirement, safety and other awards.

Make a budget

In recognition school, you won't have to hone your long division skills, but some calculations can help you make a budget. Your budget should be a happy medium between what your employees asked for, the different awards you want to award and the budget you can allot. We often recommend about $200 per employee per year. This can include service awards and on the spot awards. If you are awarding for safety or sales too, this budget should increase to closer to $500 per employee per year. If this isn't in your recognition program budget for the year, find out why it should be. If it still isn't possible to get additional funding, research shows that recognizing consistently is more important than recognizing just once a year. In other words, put your money towards on the spot recognition and it will go further than just rewarding for service awards.

Design your materials

Was anyone else's favorite part of school art class? Here in recognition school, you may be able to use your creativity skills to design your recognition materials. (If you're not feeling crafty, please download our free recognition letter and certificate templates!) Recognition programs can be completely online/electronic, completely in print or a mixture of both. If you partner with a recognition company like ours, you should be able to get custom recognition materials for free. Try to include the employee's information on the recognition materials like their name, achievement and date of the award. It is always great to get the company president or head manager to sign or send the materials.

Recognize employees fairly and consistently

If you learn nothing else in recognition school, i.e. this article, please be sure you are recognizing employees fairly and consistently. If two employees do similar activities that deserve rewards, your recognition program should be designed to award them the same way. One person shouldn't end up with a $50 dart board and the other end up with a $1500 couch. To be consistent, employees who are actively going above and beyond should be receiving recognition regularly throughout the year, not just on their service award anniversary or during their annual review. Recognition can range from receiving a thank you note or email to receiving a very substantial gift.

Recognition school is out for the day! That was easy, wasn't it? Much better than college algebra, that is for sure. Yet often recognition programs seem like this unknown monster that lurks in the corner of the HR person's office waiting to be dealt with. If you pace yourself by taking on one tip per week, you can still get your recognition program started in about one month!

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